She is a twenty-three year old, single female who lives with her young son in Savanna, Georgia. Katurra contacted H.O.P.E. Inc. for financial assistance to better provide for her son as she sought to pursue her college studies.
As the daughter of a U.S. Army soldier, Katurra was born at Fort Stewart, the largest military installation base, located east of the Mississippi River. Katurra attended Georgia Southern College for two years, before an unplanned pregnancy made it difficult for her to pursue her immediate educational goals. At 20 years of age and pregnant, Katurra landed a low-paying job to help make ends meet, but found life difficult as she tried to stay in school without any family and community support to help during this critical period in her life. As her grade point average slipped from A’s to C’s, Katurra knew she needed help and she began to research organizations that were willing to financially assist single mothers while enrolled in school.
Katurra contacted H.O.P.E. Inc., but at the time the organization was only assisting young women who lived in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Katurra was undeterred and decided to put her application in anyway. “I decided to put my application anyway because at 20 years old and pregnant, I felt all alone, and I was desperate to find ways to support my new baby and stay in college.” Katurra’s name was added to a waiting list for four months, but she credits H.O.P.E. Inc.’s founder, Kenita Pierce-Lewis for recognizing the potential that she had to succeed when others did not. “I wasn’t getting the support I needed from my family, but Kenita gave the encouragement and boost I needed to keep going and not give up,” Katurra said. “I was an independent person, and I wanted to do well and get my life back, and H.O.P.E. Inc. provided me with the encouragement I needed. A day after Katurra delivered her son, she transferred from Georgia Southern University to South University in 2011, and enrolled in their online program.”
With H.O.P.E. Inc.’s assistance to help with rent and child-care expenses, Katurra is maintaining a 4.0 GPA and is targeted to graduate in June of 2014 with a Associate’s degree in Business Administration and her Bachelor’s degree in the Spring of 2015. The future looks bright for Katurra now, as she continues her college studies, raises her son and opts in to take advantage of a number of additional resources that H.O.P.E. Inc. offers, like financial planning and bible studies.
“As a new mother, keeping up with my college studies was difficult enough, and I wasn’t trained to also know how to start a budget to manage my money wisely and how to stay out of debt,” she said. “But the beauty of H.O.P.E. Inc., is that this organization wants everyone to succeed. It’s not just about them helping young parents complete their college education, but helping us learn life skills to improve our lives and better prepare for our families.”